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Meaning and etymology of the name Hamathite

Hamath Hamath Hamathite Hamathite

The Hamathite is (are) descendant of Canaan, son of Ham (Genesis 10:18) and one would expect that the name of the Hamathite derives of Ham but the experts say no. All sources point at the city Hamath, which must have been somewhere in Syria, close to the northern frontier of Israel (1 Kings 8:65, Isaiah 11:11, Ezekiel 47:16).

NOBS Study Bible Name List interprets the name Hamathite as People Of Hamath, and reads Fortification for Hamath. BDB Theological Dictionary agrees and derives the name via homa (homa), wall, to Fortress. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names derives the name Hamath from an unused root, but reaches for an Arabian cognate which means to guard or join together for defence, and renders the name Hamath the meaning Defence, Citadel.

A Hebrew audience, however, might have noticed the similarity between the name Hamath and the word Hamath (hemet) meaning waterskin (Genesis 21:14). This word comes from the unused root Hamath, which, according to cognates, means something like putrid, grow rancid.

See also Hammath.



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